Two Strangers (Carry a Cake Across New York)
Rating: ★★★★★
Venue: Criterion Theatre, London 
Cast: Sam Tutty and Dujonna Gift 

Dougal is a naïve, impossibly upbeat Brit who's just landed in New York for his dad’s second wedding. The dad he’s never known. Waiting for him at the airport is Robin, the sister of the bride. She’s a native New Yorker, she’s late for work, and she doesn’t have time to stop and see the sights. Instant attraction? Nope. But with an extravagant wedding approaching and the Big Apple at their feet, anything could happen...

Funny, heart-warming, relatable.

After it’s successful run at the Kiln theatre, Two Strangers (Carry A Cake Across New York) makes it to the West End with a new home at the Criterion Theatre. With a book by Jim Barne and Kit Buchan, and under the direction and choreography by Tim Jackson, this fun musical comedy takes its audience on a journey... across New York.

With just a two-person cast made up of Dujonna Gift as Robin and Sam Tutty as Dougal, this vibrant duo let audiences in their world. With minimalistic staging and a use of the revolve, the set from Soutra Gilmour is made up from stacks of suitcases which gives the audience room to imagine and visualise the story unfolding.

Tutty plays the vivacious Dougal who receives an invitation to his estranged father's wedding across the Atlantic, in New York City. Eager to meet his father, Dougal sets off with high hopes and a positive attitude. Sam plays this character so beautifully and effortlessly. 

A standout moment for me was the song “Dad” in which Dougal explores what it would be like to have him in his life and the what-ifs if he'd had his father around. Sam’s emotions throughout this are extremely relatable. His vocal talent is truly something, and his performance is one that will stay with you for a long time.

Dujonna Gift. What a powerhouse. Her portrayal as Robin really showcased working-class America and how one must work hard, no matter the cost. Robin longs for acceptance and in reality, so does Dougal. As an American who has dealt with the pressure that is working-class/corporate America, I truly felt connected with Robin in many ways. Robin is tough on the outside, but on the inside she just wants those in her life to be happy and accepting. Dujonna hits the nail on the head with this and does it with class and ease.

For me, the highlight of Dujonna's performance was during “What’ll It Be”, whereby the audience really gets to know Robin and her vulnerability. The chemistry between Dujonna and Sam makes the story captivating and their vocals together is music to the ears.

Sometimes you were meant to be in the place you didn’t expect to be. Unexpectedly, they found each other and with a little help along the way realise that there was a reason for their chance meeting. This is a story that everyone can relate too, in some aspect or another. It is brilliantly told.

You can book tickets to see Two Strangers at the Criterion Theatre, here.

Review by Dani

**photo credit: Brinkhoff-Moegenburg and Tristram Kenton**

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